TAMPA, Fla. — Five businesses went before the Tampa City Council Monday morning for hearings to consider revoking or suspending their alcohol licenses. Ultimately, three businesses will have their liquor licenses briefly suspended.
The hearings are part of a continued citywide crackdown targeting repeat violators of the mask mandate. City attorneys said they were able to negotiate proposed settlements for all five businesses.
Tampa City Council voted to approve the city attorney's recommendation for the Ritz Ybor for a finding of no violation, and therefore, no suspension. City Attorney Gina Grimes explained when they re-evaluated the evidence, they determined the citations were almost all for failure to social distance, though the customers were wearing masks.
“But further, we are asking that their safety plan be approved and made a condition as ongoing compliance to that plan,” said Grimes.
MacDinton’s Irish Pub received a three-day liquor license suspension from March 18-21. Rebecca Johns, counsel for the bar, went over their safety plan.
“Patrons will be given a wristband if they have reserved seating. The only patrons that can go inside of the establishment with the exception of going to the roped-off restroom will be those patrons that have the wristband,” said Johns. “Everyone will stay at their seat. There will be no mingling between the tables. Everyone will wear a face mask unless they are seated. The establishment will continue to provide face masks to those patrons that don’t have one.”
Club Skye also received a three-day alcohol license suspension beginning March 9. An attorney for the business provided ABC Action News with their safety plan, which includes handing out masks to people in line and stopping the music and raising the lights every 20 minutes to make an announcement that all those not wearing masks will be asked to leave.
Prana Ybor’s Premier Nitespot was given a seven-day liquor license suspension starting on April 5.
“There is signage everywhere around the club, and in fact, there are two very large video screens that continuously display the mask requirements,” said attorney Luke Lirot. "They advise patrons masks are strictly required."
Lirot explained Prana’s plan also includes having employees specifically roam the facility and ensure strict compliance.
King Corona Cigars did not get a suspension. The business’s attorney told ABC Action News all employees reviewed and signed their safety plan, which includes additional signs, masks for people who don’t have one, and sanitization stations.
Grimes explained during the hearings the city’s strong enforcement got the message across.
“The code enforcement and TPD inspections of all the AB (alcoholic beverage) establishments, approximately 75 establishments each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, so for each of those three nights during the last three weekends, we’re seeing almost 100 percent compliance with the health law requiring masks indoors,” said Grimes. “It sends a strong signal to AB establishments that the city takes seriously the enforcement of the conditions they place on AB establishments.”